Not a whole lot pf people pay attention to the Charlotte Bobcats as closely as I do which explains why I believe that, even though the Bobcats lost Felton, Tyson Chandler, and Larry Hughes, the Bobcats will still improve their record over last season.
Let me start with the point guard issue here in Charlotte.
Yes, we lost Raymond Felton, who was consistently giving us approximately 12 ppg and 6 apg. But look what the Bobcats did to try to cushion that blow.
We still have DJ Augustin who, even though he had a bad sophomore season, will improve much now that he has been handed over the starting point guard role for Charlotte. We also signed free agent point guard Shaun Livingston who, last season with the Wizards, averaged approximately 10 ppg, 5 apg, and 2 rpg. When he was starting for Washington his numbers were even better than that.
Lastly, at point guard, we signed undrafted rookie Sherron Collins who won a national championship in college at the University of Kansas. Collins played for the Bobcats in the Orlando Summer League and was impressive, putting up stats that included a 30-point game. Many people do not know, but the Bobcats also signed the versatile combo guard, Javaris Crittenton who is back after not playing in 2009-2010.
Next up, the center position.
Tyson Chandler was not putting up the numbers that Charlotte was expecting out of him and he was also taking up a lot of cap space which is why the Bobcats traded him with Alexis Ajinca to Dallas for Matt Carroll, Eduardo Najera, and Erick Dampier. And also, Ratliff, who was a free agent this summer, signed with the Lakers.
Dampier was acquired as an expiring contract and was released immediately to free up cap space for Charlotte this season and next offseason. What the Bobcats did to replace Chandler was sign NBA vet Kwame Brown, who Michael Jordan drafted back in Washington, and rookie Matt Rogers out of Southwest Baptist.
The Bobcats have also held onto Nazr Mohammed and Gana Diop who are expected to produce better this season than they did last season. I would expect to see Mohammed starting this season with Brown and Diop getting equal minutes off the bench while Rogers continues to develop as an NBA player. Also, Tyrus Thomas has the versatility to play center if needed while Diaw is playing power forward.
Finally, with the loss of free agents Larry Hughes and Stephen Graham, something had to be done to help make the shooting guard and small forwawrd positions more versatile.
The additions of Matt Carroll and Eduardo Najera through the Dallas trade and the signings of Dominic McGuire and Darius Miles were a fantastic way to replace Hughes and Graham. Carroll is a deadly three point and free throw shooter who was a fan favorite in Charlotte a few years back.
He is also my favorite NBA player and I know he will be welcomed back with extremely open arms from Charlotte fans. Najera and McGuire are big bodies that can help crash the boards and Miles is another scoring option that could easily back up Stephen Jackson and Gerald Wallace, especially if he plays the way he played several years back.
The Bobcats went 44-38 last season and improved their roster a good bit this offseason. My prediction for this coming season is not much better than last season's record though. I am predicting a 46-36 season and finishing eighth or ninth in the East and another fourth place finish in the division behind Miami, Orlando, and Atlanta.
Their record will not improve much and they may not get a playoff spot this season just because of the shift of power in the NBA from the Western Conference to the Eastern Conference. The Bobcats will have to try as hard as they can to win a good majority of their interconference games this season and just do what they can against the East.